An Indietracks wedding! This morning the drummer from Ballboy gets married in the signal box and the happy couple process through an arch of drumsticks. We leave them to their kilts ‘n’ champers and go exploring the Midland Railway hinterlands in a Famous Five type way. The sun shines, butterflies bibble, Thomas the Tank Engine (really) rolls into the station and we go for a wake-up train ride.
On our return, Be Like Pablo (from the Scottish Highlands!) are fizzing up the whizzpop. Or maybe whizzing up the fizzpop. Doing jittery power-poppin’ stuff anyway.
To the church for the ever entertaining Winston Echo and his curious songs about normal things. He is entertainingly harsh with his assembled band, bawling, “Did I say you could sit down!?!” and when Jimmy of The Bobby McGees pokes his head in he is dismissed with, “You’re not as famous as you think! FUCK OFF!’ The set ends with ‘Dracula’s Disco Party’ during which we get to make monster noises, “Grrrr, arrrgh, awoooo! Etc”
We sadly forgo The Cavalcade (seen ‘em before tho – sound divine, look like fuck all) in order to scoff a veg burger whilst it still occurs to us to eat. The scoffing is carried out to the sound of M.J. Hibbert apparently slaying the crowd from the main stage and getting ‘#Happiness’ trending on Twitter – ooh! the future!
We are next washed unto the indoor stage on a tide of vodka and ginger beer to await the mighty Specific Heats. Last year they were Discovery of The Festival. This year, they are Most Eagerly Awaited. They rip-roar through a reverbin’ set kickin’ out garage/pop songs of fun times/bad times whilst flapping their paisley capes (PAISLEY CAPES!) Over at the back Keira is all a-grin bashing on the drums. Whilst up front Mat swooshes and canters back and forth wrangling his guitar with style. There are no exploding reverb tanks and no broken down guitars and thus it is the best Specific Heats set I have ever seen.
Now it is time for The Loves all-singing all-dancing (and how!) spectacular on the main stage. A Sense Of Occasion has overcome the band so that they take to the stage to the theme tune from ‘2001 : A Space Odyssey’. They are all dressed in black and white. Simon Love sports a moustache and mighty velvet cape. He hoys footballs at the audience (A Rod Stewart / Uncle Disgusting homage?) For one time only they are rejoined by Liz Love/School. What’s more there are dancing girls ludicrously go-going their way through ‘Bubblegum’ in pink tassly minidresses. A costume-change later the dancers avant garde about to ‘Can You Feel My Heart Beat?’ The songs are as ever a nosebleed pop rush through all your favourite pop history snippets. Then Jesus (Jimmy Bobby McGee again, looking hilarious/disturbing in a ghostie sheet and heart-shaped shades) comes on and gets told off for not taking his cue properly before dancing about with the go-go girls (now in silver bikinis). Come on people, what more do you want?! The Loves are, as ever, a bubbleicious popsike explosion and very funny indeed. You’ll miss ‘em when they’re gone.
We leg it to the indoors stage and just manage to catch one and a half Blanche Hudson Weekend songs. Damn! They sound good. I had meant to leave The Loves halfway through, but just could not tear myself away from the spectacle. And I’m not even interested in breasts.
We make a feeble attempt to see The Millipedes LAST EVER show in the church, but after peering forlornly through the windows and hanging about in the queue for a bit we get distracted and disappear down a chatting-with-friends rabbit-hole for quite a (hazy) while. I am vaguely aware that The Cannanes are on the main stage playing to a bewilderingly sparse crowd. When I look up again it’s time for Standard Fare. Who play a heart-gladdening set as it drizzles on our anoraked heads. A mini dust-cloud hovers above the crowd as we stomp along. Especially to ‘Dancing’.
In the merch tent there are skirts with owls on. More importantly there are advance copies of the new Shrag album. Shrag get mightier every time they play. Here they are on the main stage being VITAL, Helen singing whilst barefoot stamping, guitars scratching and clanging, playing a blood-rush mix of songs old and new, ‘Mark E. Smith’ ‘Ghosts Before Breakfast’ ‘Tights In August’. You can tell they’re the best just from the titles.
The Pooh Sticks have ‘reformed’ for Indietracks. Cor! This has invited much indie popstrel excitement. We wait, bated breath to see what will emerge onto the Indoor Stage. It is Hue Pooh Stick and some youngish blokes making up the band. And Amelia Fletcher doing added vocals. And it’s fabulous. They are the Indie Cheap Trick (a good thing) pure bubblegum power pop, with so many songs to sing along to, ‘Young People’, ‘Cool in A Crisis’, ‘I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well’.
And so to this year’s kings and queen of Indietracks, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. In ‘our’ world where, to quote Darren Hayman, ‘When we say ‘indie music’ we mean Prittstick and Kafka, we mean wool knit and horn rimmed, we mean Xerox and Fender’, the Pains are mighty colossi, poking their heads out into the land of mainstream, being all successful and that. But Indietracks is their spiritual home, we know at heart they belong with ‘us’ and we embrace them for that.
They play a set full of love, starting with Kip’s solo, acoustic rendering of ‘Contender’, fighting their way past initial equipment problems to whisk us up in a fuzzed whirl, as the sky turns pinky-blue to navy to black. ‘This Love Is Fucking Right’ we all sing, ecstatic. The set ends, as ever, with us jumping and shouting along to ‘The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’…but then there’s lots more – a long old love-in of a set which we end up admiring from the toilet queue.
And then it’s the end of Indietracks for another year. The last furze of feedback unfurls into the dark and its time to trundle home with pop saturated hearts and whispers of next week’s special secret Pains gig sneaking into our ears.